Sunday, July 29, 2012

A little unexpected miracle at the book signing.

Last night, I was honored to give a lecture on my book at the Oak Park Arms, the wonderful retirement home my dad has lived at for the past 11 years.  I've seen him change, wane, grow, wane again, and blossom into the wisest, most charming soul while he's been living there.  Not that he wasn't always charming, but by virtue of the fact that he comes in contact with so many people there, and obviously affects them so powerfully and beautifully, his magnificent power is multiplied times infinity.

Anyway, the lecture and book signing.  After the audience had some wine and cheese, I took the stage, talked about how the book took shape, read a chapter from it (on Lakeside, one of my Top Five parks).

Vintage neon ride sign at Denver's Lakeside Park
 Then I opened up the room to questions, and the folks had some great ones:

"Are there parks like Riverview still around?"
"Do parks still install vintage merry-go-rounds?"
"What sort of admission fees do vintage parks have?"

One lady wanted to ask question after question; she decided to buy the book in the end because it excited her so much.  In fact, a lot of folks generously purchased copies, but that wasn't the unexpected miracle that occurred.

Back to Dad.  When his caregiver wheeled him into the Terrace Room (once THE fancy bar at the Arms, when it was a grand hotel), Dad really seemed out of it.  His eyes seemed dim and had little of their usual sparkle.  Wine and cheese were brought and when he eyed the red wine in the small plastic glass, he asked what it was.  This is not Dad; this is some other guy, I thought.  Red wine is his lifeblood, one of his passions.

If I said that my Dad's condition worried me a little last night, it would be a gross understatement.  My attention was really drawn more to him than my task at hand, the reason I was brought in that evening.  But I breathed, knew the caregiver would keep a close eye, as would Ben.  All would be well, right?

I lectured and read, and occasionally (okay, a LOT) glanced over at Dad, who either seemed like he was sleeping or just slipped away into the dark rooms where his dementia leads him.

After my talk and question session were over, I immediately sat down by Dad.

"Hey, Daddy.  Did you like that?  Did you enjoy my talk?"

Daddy glanced into my eyes, and he was no longer sleepy or fuzzy; he was present.

"Every single thing about it was spectacular.  You really know this and I am so proud of you."  

 And he smiled.

At that moment, my attention was drawn down to our little dog Ivy, who was being petted by one of the residents.  My eyes were drawn like magnets directly to the woman's hand.  Because it wasn't her hand, it was, without a doubt, my deceased Mom's frail, tissuey-yet-elegant hand that was petting our beagle (Mom loved dogs).  And then, all at once, it was the woman's hand and she continued stroking and scratching our pet.

Angels love to bring families together, even those who haven't been in the same space together for awhile.

It doesn't matter to me how many copies are sold of the book, nor how many people are touched, enlightened or inspired.  God will provide exactly what is needed in those avenues, of that I am completely sure.  I got all I needed last night, from both my parents, who were present and proud and loving every single spectacular thing.


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  2. SO beautiful! And I wonder - - could Mom have been talking through Dad as well? Not saying that your Dad wasn't present and didn't mean what he said - - he certainly was and did! Just that I bet Mom echoed both the sentiment and the comment, and put her own special stamp on it by petting Ivy. What a lovely, lovely family reunion! Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us in this blog and your book